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Health Promotion and Safety Protection in Young Workers Share This OHSU Content

PUSH Blue(1)PUSH: Promoting U through Safety and Health
Health Promotion and Health Protection in Young Workers

Diane Rohlman, PhD (PI)

Young workers account for 14% of the US labor force and are at increased risk for occupational injuries. The non-fatal injury rate for young workers is two times higher than the rate in older workers.

The primary method to reduce risk to young workers is through the provision of effective and relevant training. Although employers are tasked with providing safety training to their employees, such training is not always well accepted or appropriately designed to reflect the needs of a young audience new to the workplace. Additionally, scientific research and practical experience demonstrates that comprehensive practices and policies that take into account the work environment while also addressing the personal health of individuals, are more effective in preventing disease and promoting health and safety than adopting separate approaches.

The overall goal of this translational project is to improve health and reduce the incidence of workplace injury in this group of especially vulnerable individuals.

To address the gap in training availability, we will combine the NIOSH Talking Safety-Youth at Work with an evidence-based health promotion training program targeted to high school athletes (the ATLAS and ATHENA programs), both proven successful individually when presented in paper booklet format. The Talking Safety-Youth at Work program consists of training to identify hazards, reduce injuries and ways to promote safety in the workplace while ATLAS and ATHENA are peer-led, sports-team-based, gender-specific drug prevention and health promotion programs implemented with sports teams.

To contribute to the science of translation, we will evaluate the efficacy of the translation of the written training to online training as a method for employers and schools to introduce basic concepts of workplace health and safety and to promote healthful and safe behaviors, using a randomized trial design.

To ensure wide distribution, we will develop a dissemination plan to promote this training to Oregon schools, youth groups and industries employing younger workers, capitalizing on social media, and make it nationally available online or by download to PC or Macintosh computers.

Relevance

  • Workplace safety, health and lifestyle factors all influence a worker’s likeliness to have an injury or illness in their lifetime.
  • We will expand the NIOSH-developed training, Youth at Work, to create an online interactive training curriculum that addresses both health promotion and health protection, and develop a dissemination plan capitalizing on social media specifically designed to interest and be worthwhile to young workers.